Room Heat vs UTH

My wife and I have recently got into breeding ball pythons and dumeril’s boas and we have are indecisive about how to heat them. We have some racks on order from ARS but are also building some PVC racks. The big question is, is it feasible to heat the snake room to a constant temp and not need heat tape? The room is small and doesn’t have windows so the heat loss of the room isn’t my biggest concern. This being one of the big reasons we are getting the nicer racks will make a price difference. Not that it is the only reason we are considering it. I’ve also heard it causes less slugs if you don’t have belly heat but the guy that was doing it that way only had females in that room. Just wanting the communities opinion because you’ve all done this more than us some of you may have even tried both.

Thank You,

Travis and Cassidy


I think its possible to just heat the room, but you would loose the thermal gradient so the snakes could not choose cooler or warmer.
Both is probably best in my humble opinion. Room at the minimum range and heat tape at the upper range.
That would give good temperature stability avoiding bigger fluctuations and give your snakes a choice depending on their needs at the time.
But others may disagree, just my preference.

Edit: just noticed this is the first time you posted. so a big welcome and have fun.
There’s lots of more experienced people here than me, so you will get good advice here.


Since the mid 90s I’ve bred many many many different species of pythons, boas, and colubrids. The overall preferred average body temp in my experience has been 84-86 degree. I’ve been using a simple 85 degree ambient temp with no supplemental heat. My balls breed all year, bloods breed all year, and everything else breeds all year with no temp drop. Natural barometric pressure changes will get them going.


+1 for the feasibility of ambient. It’s fairly common with the Short tail community. I believe Billy from MC has tried a juvenile rack with ambient and noticed no discernible difference. For myself it isn’t very realistic and probably will never be as long as I’m renting. There are some additional risks with heating a whole room, so make sure you have back up systems in case something malfunctions!


Let me clarify, I know of people that have no choice to but have the whole room at optimum ambient temperatures, because of the climits they are located in, and they breed well.
Just my own preference is different. especially if you want cooler spices in the same room too.

BTW I do not think cooling for ball pythons to stimulate breeding is essential either. I was talking about thermoregulation based on digestion. Most of my snakes seem to do this.

I agree. I’ve been doing ambient for two seasons now with my BP room and I can’t see any difference in the behavior or productivity of my animals.


:thinking: The posts in here are making me reconsider. I will watch this thread and study the responses.

If I want to breed very cool snakes like maderins and melendorphi, maybe it would be better to keep them in a separate room, and have all my others in a optimum ambient temperature room. Optimum ambient would also help with my low humidity problems.

Those North american colubrids that breed better at times I want to for me with cooling could be cooled in a drinks cooler if I wanted. I have done that before. I found it makes things more predictible.

Anyway, not totally convinced yet but listening and considering.

I would definitely suggest keeping your asian rats in a separate room if doing ambient.


No more risk than using heat tape. If anything, I would consider ambient the safest. I’ve had sections of heat tape melt tubs even on a thermostat that was properly cycling.


This has been my experience as well I do zero temp drops. Balls, bloods,childrens, and house snakes.


It’s more that if there’s an issue there’s an issue with your WHOLE collection is what I was getting at

Sensorpush can help eliminate that potential threat when using ambient. If your heat tape catches fire, as many many have, it can destroy more than just your animals. I’ve seen way too many collections lost due to either a thermostat malfunction or sections of heat tape(always belly) catching fire. My reptile building has zero chance of catching fire unless it’s my incubator…in which I also keep a Sensorpush. I highly suggest investing in them for added peace of mind.


I’m definitely investing in some myself for peace of mind.


What? Thats scary.
Is it the same for heat mats?
I suppose mats are lower wattage because I use multiple small ones. One for each tub.
I hope that lowers the risk.

Any type of wire heating element can potentially cause a fire.

Room heaters are one of the leading causes of house fires, so there’s risk in that as well. It’s all about taking the proper precautions. The plan for me is to move from housing systems that result in the heating element being in direct contact with the bin, or flammable racks. Rack systems like ARS or FB are pretty safe in that respect.


Agreed. I have a mini-split heat pump on my building so that risk is minimized even further. No need for a room heater.

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What kind of barometric changes do you look for and do you increase your feeding when you are going to breed? Also do you just put your male in when you know the pressure is going to be low or high? I’d love to hear your strategy. Thank You, Travis

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Low pressure seems to be the trigger. I don’t really go by a set number just the change in wind and precip can get them going. It doesn’t mean they won’t breed on any perfectly nice day, it just seem to entice them much easier. I feed the same all year for females. Males are fed more heavily in the summer and fall because I know some will fast during the winter and spring. Even still, during the breeding season males are offered food every 2-4 weeks.

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How do heating costs vary; ambient vs direct heat? Have those using ambient only seen a reduction in heating costs?